“Once or twice a week, we’d feed people who came to the kitchen door. We stole food for ourselves fairly constantly, and we slipped extra food to the kitchen staff, so we saw nothing wrong with spreading around some of the excess. There were a couple of street guys who’d stop by, and I’d fix them a plate: the day’s special, some cut-up potatoes or a bowl of chili, a couple of pieces of leftover cheesecake. I like watching them eat, balancing the plate on their knees on our back stoop, wiping their mouths politely on the paper towel I gave them. It made more sense to me than the waste did, the huge barrels of soft vegetables, half-eaten chickens, meat trimmings, stale bread, spoiled milk . . .
The men at the door reminded me that there were worlds parallel to the world of restaurants . . .”
What stands out about this excerpt?
Sara Miles describes the ‘street guys’ with a dignity, “politely wiping their mouth” — why do you think that is an important description?
What do you think she means when she writes, “worlds parallel to the world of restaurants?” She goes on to describe many more “worlds” that she is living in. What “worlds” have you most recently become a ware of beyond your own?
Miles ends the chapter contrasting her appreciation of food with that of her brothers.
“Food remained something central for me, but I couldn’t articulate why . . . Like David, I could taste well, and specific flavors were full of meaning; unlike him, I wasn’t driven to make sense of the world through creating and interpreting those meanings. I was messier than my brother, and lazier, and I wanted something more direct, spoken less in the specialized language of gastronomy than in the ancient language of welcome. I had no idea then that what I was hungry for was communion.”
What have you “hungered” for that you didn’t recognize until later?